ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Agricultural Mechanisation in China

Agricultural Mechanisation in China K P Kannan SHIGERU Ishikawa, known to be one of the most perceptive economists on China, of the Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University, Japan, gave two seminars at Trivan- drum on the "Necessity and Problems of Agricultural Mechanisation in China and Its Organisational Aspects" during the first week of October last year. Ishikawa pointed out that the Chinese agriculture is currently undergoing a massive process of mechanisation with a view to increasing agricultural productivity to achieve self-sufficiency, especially in foodgrains. The decision to embark on this programme of agricultural mechanisation was formally taken at a national conference held during October 1975 attended by more than 600 delegates. The conference was named the 'National Learn- from-Tachai Agricultural Conference'. It is significant that the name Tachai figured prominently in the conference. Tachai is a production brigade in the mountain area of the north China province of Shansi. Led by its Party branch, the brigade rebuilt a village which was extremely poor and undeveloped before liberation into a prosperous and thriving socialist countryside. This was achieved by, what the Chinese call, "putting proletarian politics in command, educating the peasants in Mao Tse-tung Thought, firmly taking the socialist road and adhering to the principle of self-reliance and hard work". In sum, the progress was not due to increased use of material incentives but mainly motivating people for collective welfare. This explains why Mao Tse-tung gave the famous call in 1964: "In agriculture learn from Tachai''. The conference was a formal endorsement of this call to emulate the example of Tachai for expansion and modernisation of agriculture. The conference set a target of 70 per cent agricultural mechanisation by 1980. The official definition of agricultural mechanisation was that in each agricultural operation at least 20 per cent of human labour should be substituted by agricultural machinery. This is now sought to be increased to 70 per cent.

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